All things can tempt me from this craft of verse:
One time it was a woman's face, or worse--
The seeming needs of my fool-driven land;
Now nothing but comes readier to the hand
Than this accustomed toil. When I was young,
I had not given a penny for a song
Did not the poet sing it with such airs
That one believed he had a sword upstairs;
Yet would be now, could I but have my wish,
Colder and dumber and deafer than a fish.
William Butler Yeats, 1910
With all the discussion of procrastination, I just couldn't resist posting a piece from my favorite poet. Though Yeats never had to contend with the allure of the internet or television, nonetheless, he, like most of us, struggled with a host of daily distractions that begged and beckoned, drawing him away from his creative purpose. And don't we just ache for those feeble sirens to call us away when our task is already frustrated? Blogland, chatrooms, email--it's all just a more concrete manifestation of Yeats' desperate breaks with inspiration.
But I have to say that somewhere within that bog of distraction lies the seed of inspiration. Sometimes I just need that kick start, that little phrase innocently uttered online to spark an idea that grows into a paragraph and then a chapter and then the book. No matter how disconnected that idea may seem, the whole sense of connection that I get from my little distractions actually feeds my writing...somehow. Diversion does that crazy dance that misdirects our brain long enough for it to find the answer (or inspiration) in our subconscious. Oh, jeez! Yeats would be proud of me now!